About  |  Contact Us  |  Register for Benefits  |  Login  |  View/Edit Your Profile  |  Consulting  |  Principal & Founder  |  Sponsorships  |  Legal & Privacy

  Home      Blog      Job Board      Community      Contribute      Vendor Listings      Search Site
  Employment  |  More With Less  |  Potpourri  |  Records  |  Reporting  |  Research  |  Revenue  |  Samples  | Systems  |  Web Sightings
 
  Web site content ideas. Web Sightings

Web SightingsContent should be the number one objective and goal for your web development team.

Interesting, compelling and depth of content will fuel the growth in web site traffic and will end up promoting the ongoing use and revisiting of constituents to the site.

To a great extent your web site content will also reflect the depth and offerings of alumni and friends programs in general. Your web site will help to enhance the marketing of these programs and benefits.

Effective use of these ideas will also depend on your constituents, staff resources, technical ability, management acceptance, budget, and other considerations.

It's also important to keep in mind that some content may have a much greater life than that of a traditional print piece. If you set up a photo gallery for example, this content can be more or less permanent and provide a place for visitors to return to for many years.

Here are some content ideas, gleaned from visiting thousands of alumni and advancement web sites:

  • Subscribe with e-mail address to a list to receive site updates, weekly electronic newsletter, copy of on-line magazine.
  • Address update forms some with contests, some with an automatic reward for filling out and submitting, look up your own address information using a direct tie to the alumni database and password login so you can correct and update your own information.

    Many forms designed to collect additional information such as class year, degrees, spouse information, salutation, nickname, employment, additional comments. Sample forms and some hints on how to make your forms effective.
  • Alumni College - weekend reunion program with a number of courses presented by school faculty.

    Other continuing education opportunities such as class auditing. Some also tied in to a university lecture series. Combination of registration on the web, and some sites offering web based learning.
  • Alumni house tours, and Campus photo tours. Particularly good if updated regularly and if there is a section for current campus photos. i.e. Photos right after a snow storm.
  • Alumni house fund raising projects such as bricks campaign. Some with a searchable database where you can actually view a picture of your own brick.
  • Alumni house on-line form for booking rooms for events. Cost and setup information. List of approved caterers. Costs for different services. Menu plans.
  • Alumni house history, alumni association history and school histories.
  • Alumni in residence program - Alumni with specific expertise stay on campus for a 2 to 4 day period to advise current students.

    Alumni mentoring programs that also involve collecting of alumni volunteers with expertise, career networking.
  • Alumni that make a difference with pictures and stories. Notable alumni, famous alumni. Detailed alumni profiles.
  • Anniversary celebrations both for Alumni Associations and Schools. Some include photos, video clips and songs.
  • Art Exhibition by Alumni (on-line) - Good for art and design schools or those that have a strong arts program. Lists of where alumni would be displaying art. Design a home page and have a link to it from the main alumni association page as part of an art design course.
  • Athletic Alumni Hall of Fame - Good tie to athletes. Athletics can often be very separated from Alumni activities or marketed jointly with them. i.e. tailgates, skybox seating.
  • Awards for distinguished alumni and friends with on-line award nomination forms, and awards criteria. Pictures and bios of recipients. Past award winners. Lists of award winners generated directly from the database.
  • Bed and breakfast guides - good information for those attending 1 day events, golf tournaments and other such activities.
  • Bibs for new babies of alumni - fill in an on-line form and a bib will be sent to you.
  • Board listings, some with pictures and bios.
  • Book club - interesting use of an on-line email discussion group with the topic of books. Other book club ideas may include faculty reading lists, faculty authors. Can link directly to on-line book vendors to promote sales of books by constituents.
  • Campaign summaries, directions, accounts you can give to, progress reports. Some progress reports with graphs and statistics. Reunion giving by class. Membership by class. Endowment listings, naming opportunities.
  • Career services and employment. Many with links to the Institution's main career development office. Links to www job finding and resume posting services. Jobs available on campus, and within individual Association or Development offices. Internship programs. Resume posting. Candidates listings.
  • Cemetery - only saw one of these. You could actually buy a plot and be buried on campus.
  • Chapter and club listings, some with clickable maps, many with their own chapter or club home pages, chapter profile and officer update forms, outstanding chapter and club awards. Getting chapters or constituent organizations to build their own pages is a great way of adding additional site content and building traffic. Chapter how to manuals. On-line chapter report or event information submission forms.
  • Chat rooms. A few sites with scheduled times for chats with specific individuals such as the institutional president. Different topic rooms. Chat use has flattened out over the last few years, and unless a site has a very high volume, chat rooms may no longer be as appealing except possibly in special cases such as where a president chat is set up at a pre-determined time.
  • Class Audit Programs - benefit for alumni to be able to audit a class for minimal or no cost.
  • Classified advertising provided as a service, or as part of an on-line community.
  • Class gift programs - participation as an emphasis, statistics on how classes compared.
  • Class notes - many online forms to update class note information. Class notes listing sorted by year. Some online forms also asked for a topic, and class notes were presented by topic. i.e. Job Change. Searchable class notes. Class notes separated into national and international. Class notes tied directly into database.
  • Commencement. Photos, commencement professions. On-line commencement survey. Parent information for commencement. Commencement timetable and commencement events. Commencement speeches in streaming audio and/or video.
  • Connections - Alumni to students. Networking opportunities. Businesses with internship opportunities.
  • Cookbook, cookouts, tailgates - Bring alumni back to campus to cook and eat. Cooking contests.
  • Databases utilized to provide dynamic content to web pages, or to allow looking up individual information. Prevalent in on-line communities, most of which require registration in order to utilize the lookup features.

  • Deer hunting. Get together with a group of alums and hunt for deer. Only saw one of these.
     
  • Distinguished Alumni listings with pictures and biographies, nomination forms.
  • Donors making prominent or trend setting gifts. Special gifts.
  • Donor honor rolls with giving levels and gift clubs.
  • Elections - on-line ballot for electing alumni board members.
  • E-mail directories with web page addresses, including on-line addition and modification of information. Some searchable by a variety of parameters. Some require registration. On-line e-mail information submission form with specific permission check box. Some required the filling of of a form with specific signature permission form, and the form to be sent back before an e-mail address could be listed.
  • Events calendars - some searchable, and some with the ability to add events, events on-line registration, events on-line survey to find out what people thought of events they attended, and to get optimal times, days, and other information for future event planning. R.S.V.P. forms for events.
  • Experts - alumni submit on-line form listing their area of expertise or interest, so that others may contact them. Experts networking with students.
  • Faculty reading list for alumni - good link to faculty who have had books published. Lists of faculty authors.
  • Faculty staff campaigns, donors, participation percentages. On-line payroll deduction authorization forms.
  • Family weekends. Prospective students bring parents to campus. Some with on-line registration form, and information request form.
  • Famous alumni, notable alumni, famous graduates.
  • Fellowships - information on special fellowships available for Alumni.
  • Frequently asked question pages on benefits, giving, what are Alumni, membership. FAQ on school questions. "How to" FAQ i.e. how to join, how to give.
  • Gift certificates for the school bookstore, or for alumni merchandise.
  • Giving - gift types, how to give, on-line pledge and gift commitment forms, what to give to, how gifts had made a difference, projects being worked on, gift committees.
  • Golf tournaments - on-line registration, pictures, scores.
  • Graduate handbook, parents handbook, and other sets of information designed to help you on campus, and post graduation.
  • Guest Books - many themes, bulletin boards, discussion webs. Multiple theme guest book with entries classified by entry type. Searchable guest books.
  • History pages for both Alumni and schools, PowerPoint presentation of history for both school and association, one very good tie in with history was an oral history of the institution with anecdotes contributed by alumni with links to their pictures and biographies.
  • Hospitality information, hotels, restaurants, dining on campus, and community information.
  • Hot links for Alumni i.e. sports, other areas of interest.
  • Hot Dog Day (A 25 year tradition!)
  • Institution's President's home page, or President's office page. Trivia questions on the presidents. Past school presidents with bios and history. President feedback form.
  • International Alumni directory sorted by language and country. Many of our institutions are multi-cultural and this serves as a good reminder to collect language and citizenship information. Some web sites presented in multiple languages.
  • Internet Services - e-mail directories and lists, listservs, dial in access and home page provision, low cost internet access as an Alumni benefit. E-mail forwarding. With so many ISP's now competing for the same business this may no longer be as viable a benefit as it once was.
  • Junior qualifying exam - a recreation of a 1964 junior qualifying exam.
  • Legislative advocacy - On-line survey for legislative advocacy to help raise awareness of institutions and education issues to government, on-line forms to volunteer as a legislative advocate.
  • Links - general links of interest, community. Theme related links, i.e. if a school specialized in some field, related links were there. Links to www people finding services to help Alumni keep in touch.
  • Listserv for Alumni so they can join e-mail discussion groups.  Many institutions with multiple listservs covering specific topics.
  • Location, maps and directions, links to www sites that generate maps and directions. Clickable location maps. Parking information since this is often confusing on many campuses it's nice to have the information available in advance.
  • Lost Alumni listings by alpha or by class year - so you can find out if you're lost. Ability to look up and see specifically if you're lost with direct tie to database.
  • Magazines on-line, back issues, sample articles, ability to subscribe to receive an on-line version of the magazine as opposed to a mailed copy, e-mail newsletters, on-line student magazines.
  • Magazines - how to advertise in, policies on advertising, meet the magazine staff, advertising rates. Letter to the editor form. Submit a news story or idea for a news story form.
  • Mascots, pictures of dogs, tigers, and even a banana slug. Mascot animations, graphics, and other mascot information tied throughout pages.
  • Membership benefits, on-line membership application forms. Some with secure credit card transaction forms.
  • Memoriam pages with obituaries, lists of in-memory, lists of gifts made in memory of.
  • Merchandise - pictures, prices, descriptions, on-line ordering forms. Some with secure credit card transactions, and shopping cart technology.
  • Messages and welcomes from both the institution's president, directors, vice presidents and others. Some with on-line feedback forms.
  • Message boards in the format of a bulletin board.
  • Minority alumni network, minority clubs and chapters.
  • Minutes of meetings, by-laws and constitution. Usually not that interesting for external visitors.
  • Movie reviews on one site.
  • News releases - Current campus events, news releases on staff, news releases on prominent alumni. News of large gifts.
  • News with births, deaths, marriages, engagements, class news.
  • Night out at the pops - Alumni events at the symphony or opera. Some with box seating. Nice tie in with a music department or school. Night at the opera in another city.
  • Notable alumni sorted by category i.e. politics, industry, faculty and others.
  • Officer nomination forms for board.
  • On-line communities. They are feature rich, particularly in interactive types of activities, and provide varying degrees of database access. These should be branded as indistinguishable from the main alumni site.
  • Organization charts - staff, volunteers, board. Campaign volunteer organization charts.
  • Parents - Parent information, parent campaigns. Parent's handbooks. Separate parent's web pages and in some cases web sites. Parent's council. Parents newsletters and listservs.
  • Photo Galleries, current and historical pictures. Add your own pictures and photo captions forms.
  • Planned giving pages, some with on-line planned giving newsletters, on-line information request form. Tax policy and gift examples. Terminology glossary. Planned gift stories. Links to IRS forms and policy pages.
  • Policies and procedures - gift policies and procedures, board policies and procedures, commonly used forms, chapter policies procedures and handbook.
  • Portraits of distinguished faculty - nomination for the teacher that most affected your life. The faculty member with the most nominations would have a portrait done, which would be hung in a prominent location. Faculty gram - send a message to your favorite faculty staff or administrator.
  • Post cards - send an electronic post card to another Alum. (Creates a HTML file which you go back to the Alumni web site to pick up.
  • Prayer requests.
  • President's Reflections - periodic writings by the university president reflecting on life and work within the institutions. Many sites also have a message from their president or chancellor, and the ability to send a message to a CEO.
  • Psychological counseling - at a reduced rate at the school clinic - Alumni benefit.
  • Quizzes, some with prizes some without. Teasers and trivia. Word search and other games. Pictures of campus where visitor has to guess where the location is. Pictures of notable alumni where visitor can guess who they are. Hangman with institution specific words (may not be the most appropriate game).
  • Reunion weekends, reunion class listings with photos, events calendars, who was likely and not likely to attend, on-line reunion surveys to collect information on current, past, and future reunions, on-line reunion registration.

    Virtual reunion weekend using web cams so those not attending the reunion could look up and see on the web site.

    Reunion listing separated by living and deceased so prospective attendees can see who is still living in their class years.

    Special reunion web pages with a wide variety of reunion information.
  • Reunion testimonials from people that attended previous reunions and photographs of past reunion weekends.
  • Scholarships - purposes, how to give to, honored recipients. Scholarships for children of alumni. On-line scholarship application forms.
  • School songs and band tunes - both words, and in some cases wav files.
  • Screensavers for downloading. Wallpaper, and computer desktop icons.
  • Senior alumni awards, senior's programs.
  • Server statistics for web servers, technical environments, lists of pages hit, current web site users.
  • Sharing knowledge programs - list of Alumni specialists students can contact.
  • Site maps - useful navigation aid for displaying indexes of some of the larger more comprehensive sites.
  • Sounds of campus, songs, band, football games. If you have a sound load on your page don't have it keep looping automatically.
  • Send a message to the President (of the institution), the alumni executive.
  • Senior class gift with tributes to some of the senior class members.
  • Speaker's bureau - Speaker's pictures, biographies, dates, and costs for attending.
  • Sports scores, and links to sports information. Some RealAudio sports broadcasts.
  • Staff listings, some with pictures, homepages for each staff, clickable e-mail addresses, some with brief point outlines of what they do in addition to their job titles. Some with brief bios. Staff contacts by area of responsibility.
  • Statistics on Alumni - by state, by sex, proximity to a chapter, by country. Male/female by class, number of known addresses by class. Clickable demographics maps.
  • Student Alumni association - a subset of Alumni used to involve students from the start. Some with student alumni pages.
  • Student - host a student at your home while they are attending.
  • Student recruitment - link to registration, on-line forms to submit information on a potential student.
  • Surveys - web surveys, alumni surveys about the school experience, volunteer skill surveys, event surveys, graduating student surveys, surveys about benefits and other services provided by the alumni association. Comprehensive alumni surveys.
  • Tailgate recipe contest. Tailgate pictures.
  • Testimonials - about the experiences alumni had while at the school. Get board members to write a short paragraph or two. Make this a tradition of board membership. Stories from famous or notable alumni.
  • Tickets for athletic events. Discount tickets as part of a membership benefit. Tickets as prizes for filling in a survey or updating address information.
  • Top 50 Alumni to Watch - Bios with pictures on the top 50 alumni who are the shakers and movers. This might be a high maintenance item, but connects you to the best graduates, and helps to publicize success. What happens when someone falls off the list?
  • Transcript ordering and requests - good tie for people back to association. Transcript ordering instructions. Some associations provide free transcripts as a membership benefit.
  • Travel programs - some with links to country pages where the trips would be going, lists of those already signed up.
  • Treasurer's report - good for showing how budgets were applied. Annual reports with financial statistics.
  • Trivia - trivia listings for schools, or for associations. Trivia question of the week, month, etc.
  • Tuition raffle, low cost tuition or discounts for tuition as a benefit.
  • Vanity e-mail. Lifetime e-mail forwarding. Often an on-line community benefit.
  • Video and animation. Some custom designed video. Use with care. Gets tiresome if you access the site a lot and this has to run before you access the first page.
  • Volunteer skills inventories, community service programs. On-line volunteering forms. On-line volunteer experience survey. i.e. how the volunteer perceived that their experience was. Lists of notable volunteers, and volunteer stories.
  • Web sightings - home pages of alumni where the home page has personal business information, or information on the area of expertise.
  • Weddings - usually in alumni houses or on campus, some had on-line form to send for more information, or confirm an available date.
  • What's new, feature of the week - for web sites, for campus, and for associations.
  • Women in business. Women in philanthropy and as philanthropic partners.
     
  • Yearbooks on-line. Scanned yearbooks, and yearbook photos.
  • Young Alumni pages - Giving clubs, activities and events, young alumni roommate network - find a roommate by filling in an on-line form.
 
  ↑  Top of Page  |  Samples Page  |  Sample Forms  |  Favorite Reports  |  Frequently Asked Questions  |  Glossary of Terms